Many enterprise vendors and customers view mobile UI as just another more convenient portal to their back end processes.
A growing number of companies are, however, building “rich” mobile apps to get more face time with their customers and even using their apps to reengineer their processes to delight their customers.
Here are some examples (click on images to enlarge)
There have long been rumors about how many thousands of combinations the Starbucks coffee configurator can handle. It’s a mystery no more. Its mobile app can display different components– the type of espresso beverages, cup size, type of coffee (regular, decaf), and so on. For the milk alone, look in the photo at the choices in type, amount of foam, temperature etc. You can similarly configure syrups, espresso shots, toppings, and additional ingredients like bananas. And after you have created your perfect concoction, you can ask the mobile app to calculate the nutritional value – calories, fat, etc.
Wait there’s more. It is a mobile payment platform. And a loyalty program platform. Every 12 paid cups on the app gets you a free one. And a constant stream of free downloadable songs and games and other apps.
In many ways, the drugstore Walgreens is the US “neighborhood store” with over 8,500 locations. So the physical location convenience should be its major value proposition. Increasingly, though its 10 mobile apps are significantly helping the brand. More than half the company’s prescription refills are now done online, rather than in-person or over the phone – many using the scanning feature on a smartphone. Another major revenue stream for the chain comes from photo printing. Its mobile apps allow users to create photo cards with special themes such as thank you, holidays, announcements and invitations. Unique collages also can be created directly from an iPhone and available to pick up at a store in an hour. Photos for these creations easily can be uploaded from the user’s phone, Facebook or Instagram albums. Once inside the store, users can retrieve coupons for other items and earn loyalty points.
As you would expect Delta allows you make reservations, manage your frequent flier miles etc using its mobile apps. Its app is also full of other details – the major airports and the gate maps for easier passenger connections in the miles of walking in its hub terminals (like the large one in Atlanta in the photo). It provides details of seat configurations on every type of plane in its fleet. But it goes further in using other features of smartphones and tablets. It also you to print digital boarding passes whose barcode can be scanned by airport security and its gate personnel. It allows you to scan your luggage tag to track where your bag is. It allows you to store a photo of your parking space as a reminder. For the iPad, it offers a “glass bottom plane” app. Using GPS coordinates, the app pulls in photos, Wikipedia articles, and Facebook data to show you what -- and who of your friends -- you're flying over.
One of the frequent complaints about the DIY store is the amount of walking you have to do in its large locations, and the infrequency of staff to help you find what you are looking for, With its mobile app you can enter a product description or scan its SKU and it tells you the exact aisle and bin number in the store you frequent. It has an augmented reality feature which allows you to overlay a product from its catalog to a photo of one of your rooms. The mobile app offers useful tools as in the photo, unit of measure converters, nut and bolt size estimators. It allows you to estimate carpet and drywall quantities for your home improvement projects.
Are you building interesting features in your mobile apps to build more brand loyalty and customer satisfaction? Love to hear about them and profile them on the New Florence blog where I continue to post such innovative examples.